The rise of Christian social franchises: responding to UK poverty
This project is supported by the Small Research Grant, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
Value to Coventry University
October 2022 - September 2023
Whilst geographers of religion, poverty, and volunteering have given attention to faith-based organisations, the question of how UK faith-based organisations have grown so rapidly has not been addressed. This pilot project seeks to understand the rise of Christian social franchises responding to UK poverty over the last two decades. Social franchising is a model that operates like commercial franchising, but in a not-for-profit context for societal benefit. The research’s impact will be to facilitate better understanding in social and cultural geography and the voluntary sector of Christian social franchises’ growth and sustainability in the contexts of austerity and postsecularity.
To understand the rise of Christian social franchises responding to poverty in the UK over the last two decades in order to facilitate better understanding in academia and the voluntary sector of their growth and sustainability in the contexts of austerity and postsecularity.
1) To analyse how Christian social franchises have grown in the UK since 2000.
2) To identify key operational characteristics – the people, places, and spaces – of sustainable UK Christian social franchises.
3) To understand the visions of Christian social franchises in the UK in terms of their short and long-term aspirations in responding to poverty in the contexts of austerity and postsecularity.
The project’s geographical significance is to address the gap in understanding the mechanism by which the faith-based voluntary sector is increasingly responding to poverty. For voluntary sector practitioners, the significance is to have addressed the question of growth and sustainability for social franchises, which needs to be better understood if they are to continue to respond to poverty.